Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Birthday Reflection

St. Nikolai

Yes, it's my birthday today! Another day to thank God for all His wonderful gifts.

This spring I've been enjoying The Prologue of Ohrid by St.Nikolai Velimirovic. I splurged on this two-volume set of readings for every day of the year when our church bookstore offered it at a discount. I was the one who had to write down information about the book for a list of sale items, and that was the first time I'd actually looked inside. Something about the name along with its size had made me disregard it, but in the Preface I learned that the name Ohrid is "solely to distinguish it from the ancient Slavonic Prologue which -- regrettably, because of its language -- has become inaccessible to the Slavic people of our time."

I'd heard and read many of St. Nikolai's Prayers by the Lake, which are heartfelt and inspiring poems, so it is not surprising that his devotionals of three or four pages are also beneficial. They include stories of two or more saints commemorated that day, a Reflection, a Contemplation, a Homily of a few paragraphs, and often a Hymn of Praise. I'm happy to know that the whole thing is also available online, so I won't need to carry my book across the continent later this month.

Today's Reflection is a good one for Lent.

Even in His pain on the Cross, the Lord Jesus did not condemn sinners but offered up pardon for their sins to His Father, saying, They know not what they do (Luke 23:34)! Let us not judge anyone so that we will not be judged. For no one is certain that, before his death, he will not commit the same sin by which he condemns his brother. St. Anastasius of Sinai teaches: "Even if you see someone sinning, do not judge him, for you do not know what the end of his life will be like. The thief who was crucified with Christ was a murderer, while Judas was an apostle of Jesus, but the thief entered into the Kingdom, and the apostle went to perdition. Even if you see someone sinning, bear in mind that you do not know his good works. For many have sinned openly and repented in secret; we see their sins, but we do not know their repentance. Therefore, brethren, let us not judge anyone so that we will not be judged."
St. Anastasius by Rembrandt


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Thanks for sharing these wise words, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

elizabeth said...

beautiful! many years on your day of birth!

and thank you for the info on this book... I should put this on my 'to get later' list...!

DebD said...

you quoted Even if you see someone sinning, bear in mind that you do not know his good works. For many have sinned openly and repented in secret; we see their sins, but we do not know their repentance.

Thank you, thank you. I been reading too much on our current jurisdictional struggles today... I needed this reminder.

Happy Birthday and may God grant you many years!

Richie and Bethany said...

Love this quote. Thank you.


Left-Handed Housewife said...

Happy birthday, GJ!

And thanks for the passage, which as you note, is perfect for pondering during the Lenten season. And it's always good to remind ourselves we know very little about other people's lives, nor about their relationship with God.

Hope you've had a lovely day!


Anita said...

Wishing you a Happy and Blessed Birthday!

Gumbo Lily said...

Happy Birthday Gretchen Joanna, and many returns of the day! A wonderful reflection to always be remembered. Love the Rembrandt.


Pom Pom said...

I love the Rembrandt, too. Those are very good words.

Janet said...

Happy birthday!!

Dana said...

Many years, and many hugs to you!


Gigi said...

Happy Birthday to you & many blessings on 'your old gray head' ;)!
Wonderful reflection -- such wisdom and truth.
Many hugs to you GJ,

Jeannette said...

just here dropping cake crumbs on the trail of your blog so that you know I am catching up...
lovely as always.

May time always be a gift to you and there be many happy returns of your birthday.

Anonymous said...

Happy Day-After Birthday, or is that Unbirthday now... oh well. Many years!

James the Thickheaded said...

Hey... can't have 13 comments... so let me add "Happy Birthday!", too. FWIW, sprung for same intimidating bulkiness, but yes, it is good.

And I'm thinking... so lenten birthdays...hmmmm... eeez feast, yas? no?

Deb... "This too will pass"

h west said...

Happy b-day!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never heard of this guy. Thanks for bringing him up!

Marfa said...

I really love reading his lives of saints...wonderful!
Belated wishes for a sweet birthday!!!

Emily J. said...

Happy Belated Birthday! Hope you enjoy many blessings in your next year - and I look forward to reading about them!